U.S. Stop Bankrolling African Tyrants like Museveni-- A Ugandan's Letter to Donald Trump

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Gen. Museveni with Reagan; duping American presidents since 1986. Photo: Presidential Libraries, National Archives.

[Open Letter from Gulu, Uganda]

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC

Dear President Trump,

I congratulate you upon recently completing 100 days as President of the United States. I know you are not having fun as you confessed at the end of last week in an interview that you gave about the difficulties that occupants of the White House go through in executing the job.

Mr. President, as you rightly stated in that interview, this is no longer about cracking some business deals on Wall Street or Trump Tower. This is about superintending over the entire planet earth. In other words, your actions or inactions have reverberating effects across the whole world. Yes, you, Mr. President can cause the entire world to burn. But you can also save the world from burning.

That is how important you are to the world and how serious your job is. Mr. President, this is my second time to write to you. I first wrote to you through this newspaper, Black Star News, in November 2016 as President-elect of the U.S. At that time, I knew even though you had already been elected, you were not yet making decisions in the Oval Office. Today, I write to you fully aware that you're the guy in the Oval Office making decisions on a whole range of things including foreign policy issues. A decision you take effects the world--including the African continent.

I urge that should this letter come to your attention you instruct relevant staff to verify the information it contains if there is any doubt.

Mr. President, let me introduce myself. I am an African who cares deeply about the future of the entire continent; a Ugandan who wants to contribute to the country's development. My name is Mugabe Robert and I was born in May 1980, one month after Zimbabwe, previously known as Southern Rhodesia, gained independence from White minority rule. Mr. Robert Mugabe ascended to the leadership of the newly-born, independent nation. My late father, Mr. Amitayo Okeny Lugwero loved President Mugabe so much because of his Pan-African stance. He thus decided to name his son, myself, after him.

I have chosen to write to you again to urge you to review the U.S. support to the Ugandan regime. First and foremost, President Trump, as a young African born in the latter part of the 20th century, I have always wondered what guides U.S foreign policy. We are taught in school that the founding fathers of the United States based their leadership on democratic values even with all the flaws of the Constitution, which as President Obama said, each generation has worked to "perfect."

Therefore, we assume, maybe wrongly, that successive U.S. leaders should run your country based on those principles; and that in extending U.S. foreign ad, you would also promote democratic values universally. Your foreign policy, with respect to Africa in general and Uganda in particular speaks of a different reality, Mr. President. I am 36 years old now. In 1986, when Uganda's ruler Gen. Yoweri Museveni assumed the reins of power, I was just five years old. At that time President Ronald Reagan was occupying the White House.

Since that time, the U.S has had five other presidents: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now you. Uganda in all that time has and continues to have the same ruler, Gen. Museveni. We are talking about 31 years of more of the same, Mr. Trump. Throughout this time however, successive American governments have supported Gen. Museveni's military dictatorship without hesitation with weapons, training and money. Certainly, this makes us wonder whether U.S. aid is in fact designed to support brutal dictatorships in Africa.

A recent Al Jazeera interview exposed the regime's corruption and militarism to the world. Mr. President, this makes American administrations look very ugly in our eyes and of the rest of the world. Our conclusion? American governments don't give a damn about destruction of economies and killings of civilians by dictators as long as they protect the American government's interests. You can prove us wrong.

President Trump, our ruler for 31 years now, Gen. Museveni has turned Uganda into his personal private property. He is presiding over a predatory state that has robbed our country dry. In fact, most of the $750 million in annual aid money the U.S. annually sends to Uganda is stolen by the rulers. He has run down all major infrastructure; schools, hospitals, the courts and other institutions. Our schools have no teachers, books and other scholastic materials.

Our hospitals have few doctors, personnel --dead patients remain on their beds for days in some cases-- or equipment and no medicines. The average national income is $700 yet the dictator purchased a $50 million Gulfstream jet for himself. Last year the U.S. ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac condemned the regime for stealing American aid intended for the healthcare sector.  Why Mr. President should your administration continue to support such a dictator? Recently, dictator Museveni sent his soldiers to murder several hundreds, possibly thousands of unarmed civilians in the Western part of our country in Kasese.

On May Day, the dictator awarded the commander of this massacre operation, Maj. Gen. Peter Elwelu, with the highest medal of achievement. He was honored for commanding government soldiers who slaughtered in cold blood unarmed civilians in Kasese district. Elwelu was recently blocked by your administration from attending a U.S.-sponsored security conference in Malawi.

So why continue sending U.S. taxpayer money to the murderous regime? The regime sustains itself through violence. Gen. Museveni deliberately sustained an insurgency in the northern part of Uganda that may have killed over one million Ugandans primarily in the camps where 90% of people were forcefully confined. Throughout this period, American administrations funneled hundreds of millions of dollars.

Even academics are now being silenced. Recently, the dictator sent his police to arrest and incarcerate a university lecturer, Dr. Stella Nyanzi for reminding him about a campaign promise he made in the last election-- to provide free sanitary pads for Ugandan school girls. She charged he backed off the promise because public funds are being embezzled. In Uganda, it is now a crime for citizens to remind their rulers about their campaign promises. The dictator claims the arrest was because Dr. Nyanzi referred to him in uncouth terms. Yet by not mentioning the false campaign promises the dictator is acknowledging the truth in her claim; that he always reneges on campaign promises.

Why should the U.S. support such a ruler? Gen. Museveni organizes sham elections in which he is a captain, linesman, player and referee. The U.S government knows for sure that those elections are shambolic.

President Trump we here in Uganda, and elsewhere in Africa, know our civic responsibilities and are not asking the U.S government or outsiders to perform them for us, nor are we relegating these responsibilities to other countries. What we are saying is side with the people by not supporting Uganda's or any other dictator in Africa. There are citizens organized initiatives and Ugandan non-governmental organizations that could perform wonders in development work with a fraction of the $750 million. Their work directly impacts the lives of the people of Uganda.

Stop oiling dictator Museveni's genocidal and corrupt regime.

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